About the Author

Traci Neal is a spoken word artist on Poets & Writers residing in South Carolina. She’s featured in the New York Times, CNBC Make It, Storyberries, and other publications. She has won numerous awards since 2021 and continues to use poetry to inspire others throughout the world.

Recent Posts

Reader Interactions


  1. Thank you for the words of encouragement. I’m glad you found your Passion. I am trusting in the lord to lead me. Love Proverbs 3.

  2. Amen. What an inspiring story. I’m going through some things in my life. I needed this read. I look forward to reading some of your writings.

    • Awww. I am so glad my story inspired you, Lisa. I pray for you to come out on the other side shining brighter than ever before, no matter what you are facing. Thank you for reading my story. Many blessings to you.

  3. I can relate to your feelings of failure.I also failed my praxis for teaching several times by 2 to 3 points.I couldn’t understand how I could have a 4.0 grade point average and couldn’t for the life of me pass the praxis.My husband also encouraged me to take the praxis test again .I didn’t want to keep going through the feeling of failure. I after talking to God took a different path. I became a substitute teacher which gave me the freedom to teach preschool to high school children. I really enjoyed the freedom to decide who, where & when I wanted to teach. I taught some many intelligent, loving, gifted children. I later developed some health issues that caused me to leave teaching.I was given the opportunity to serve on The Board of Directors for St.Louis Public Schools District and later Ferguson- Florissant School District.So God give me the opportunity to still work and help children if all ages. Then God changed my path all together and made me a caregiver first of my disabled sister. Then my husband and I after retirement traveled all over the United States helping family members who developed illness. Being a caregiver has been one of the most rewarding things I ever did. Being able to help an individual walk, eat, take medication, bath , communicate, write ,and see a total improvement in a person’s health. Has been one of my most rewarding gifts .Thanks be to God.

    • Donna, thank you so much for being so transparent with me. I really appreciate all of what you said. You encouraged me more than you know. Keep being amazing because you are truly an inspiration.

  4. Amen! Thanks for sharing this is confirmation for what’s happening in my life right now and really needed to hear as well read. Be Blessed!!

  5. I am excited for your journey. There are so many ways to be an educator, you do not have to be in the classroom. God is trying to tell you something, your path is your own, not your father’s.

    • Thank you so much, Valerie! It was hard following my own path being such a strong daddy’s girl, but we get to a point in our lives where regret will feel worse than not ever trying at all. I had to take my own journey and I am so glad I did.

  6. To GOD Be The Glory! Faith over Fear! Beautifully written and truly inspiring. I would love to invite the Author to speak virtually during Women’s Season this May 2023 at Messiah Baptist Church
    of Bridgeport Ct.

  7. What a testimony on faith and hearing God!! We’ve all had failures and disappointments but God!!! He brought us through!! Thank you for reminding me of His goodness and what He’s already done in my life!!!

    • You’re so welcome, Sharon! I am glad my story could be a reminder to you. God is truly faithful even when we do not understand why certain things happen to us.

    • Thank you so much, Barbara! Yes. Listening to God’s voice is super helpful when we don’t know which way to turn or what move to make next. Stepping out on faith isn’t always easy, but it is definitely necessary for our growth.

  8. Thank you for the great devotional. Many times we push ourselves into careers that God never designed for us just to please others. Thank you for standing in your faith. God has a special individual plan for each of us. Walk into your gift.

    • You’re very welcome, GwenDee. Thank you for reading my story and for your encouraging words. I really appreciate it. I will walk into the path God has for me and use my gift to help as many people as I possibly can.

  9. This is so very encouraging! I have a similar story that involves my pain! Like you, as I experienced the pain, I turned to God and He exposed things that I needed to know; however, humanly, I would have never known! Because of my severe pain, I have learned to truly trust and lean on God for everything.

    Thank you for sharing your life altering story! You are an excellent writer that makes the reader anxious to simply read the next sentence! May God continue to guide you and bless all of your endeavors!

    • Thank you so much for your kind words, Dr. Black-Finney. I appreciate you reading my story also. Thank you for being so transparent as well. I truly feel like I am part of a community with Mahogany now because of people like you who left a comment. Thank you again for reading.

  10. Faith will force you to respond even when your knees are wobbly. So glad you allowed your faith to be bigger than your fear.

  11. When we accept God’s will and not the pressures of others our lives become the better. This was part of my sermon yesterday, when we train up a child look at their giftings from God, not your expectations. We fear failing our parents, when we should fear failing God. Peace & Blessings on your journey!

  12. So proud of you baby girl. Your writing continues to inspire me as well as others. Keep the faith and God will continue to do great things through you for His glory.

    • Thank you so much, Mommy! All of these comments are so overwhelming. I did not know my story would resonate with so many people. It is bringing tears to my eyes. I am truly grateful for this and thankful to Mahogany for allowing me to share my story.

  13. What a message this is of encouragement to trust God in the midst of what seems like “failure”.
    Thank you for sharing Traci. You vividly put on paper your emotions —a sign of a gifted writer!

    • You’re very welcome, Tiffany. Thank you for reading my story. Yes. Keep trusting in God and the right people will come your way. I am a witness to this. Just continue on the journey and hold on to hope.

  14. It is good that God showed you your destiny. I find it interesting that SC can’t find nor keep teachers now. There school system is one of the lowest in the country. May God bless you.

    • Thank you so much, Monica. Yes. I feel sorry for my state, but the only thing I can do is continue to make an impact on youth outside of the classroom. God bless you too!

  15. THIS IS POWERFUL! Do you not know how many people you have touched with this testimony? KEEP GOING! What GOD has for you is much more than the world can ever give you. STAY BLESSED MY SISTER.

  16. Your story was very inspirational, failing at something you wanted to do can be quite a blow. You did not let that failure get the best of you, by examining your strengths and exploring other avenues of interests God showed you another door to success.

  17. I pursued my childhood dream of becoming a Teacher although it happened very late in life. I have been doing it for 10 years now. But like you I started writing at an early age and I to know that it’s my gift from God in who all my faith and trust lies. I just don’t know how to go about getting it started. Maybe you can help me.

    • Thank you for being so open and honest with me, Tammie. I appreciate it. The best advice I can give with your writing is to find where you fit. What I mean is to determine what you like to write about. Then write down organizations that could correlate to your writing style. This takes time, so do not beat yourself up if you do not know right away what writing style you fall into. I will also say, “Be true to yourself.”

      Sometimes, the writing industry can be competitive and people try to imitate others. When someone truly has a gift to write, this person will never have to try to be like someone else. Quality is always unique! Hope this advice is helpful.

    • Thank you so much, Janet! I am so glad you felt my story was powerful and inspiring to you. Now, my testimony is much deeper than this, but I know that will eventually will get out in the media also. Thank you again for reading my story.

  18. Thank you for sharing your story. Truly God directs all our paths and steps. He knows when we don’t know. Your husband was so supportive in your time of need.
    Remember, you determined your own destiny.

    • You’re very welcome, Brenda! God is definitely directing my steps. I am super grateful for my husband. He’s helped me to keep going on my journey. Without God and my husband, I would have quit initially before ever starting the process of my writing.

  19. Amazing! That’s the first thing that comes to mind. I probably shouldn’t be amazed at the things God does. However, at this point in my walk with Him, I am. I rejoice with you that you have now found your way. My prayer for you is that you continue walking out what He has prepared for you.

    • Thank you so much, Fran. I appreciate the prayers. My prayers to you also. God is doing things beyond what I could ever imagine. I am truly grateful. Thank you for reading my story.

  20. God will never leave you nor forsake. He had planned your journey a long time ago he was just waiting on you to get there. I wish you well in your artistry of poetry and writing. I’m your number one fan Niecey. I can’t wait until you become a well known renowned Poet. All things are possible if you keep the faith and God first in your life. God is the way maker 🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾.

    • Yes, Auntie! God is truly faithful. Everything happened for a reason to get me to where I needed to be. I am so thankful for all that came out of situations I thought were hopeless. There is a blessing in our storms. Thanks for your support.

  21. I wanted be nurse since ,I was 5 years old. After 3 years of Nursing school, graduate in 1971. I taken R.N. test three times. After 2nd time not passing I went to Rutgers university for help to better my chances. When for third time taking test, I was more confident, pass my knowledge to other classmates. The classmate who listen, we both made same score 462. Give God the honor and praise.
    I continue in my life to make goals, to marry and children plus buy a house.
    I finish my college degree after during it part time for years. Started in 1973 , taken break return in 1993, ( ahead of dept Health Sciences
    allow all my credits in by Grandfather clause)graduated in 1995.

    • Wow, Joanne! You are such an inspiration. Please continue shining. Thank you for sharing your journey with me and to those reading the comments. God bless you!

  22. It took you several times to avoid listening to God’s voice. Failing the tests was preparing you for the bigger plan God had for you. Finally, after being 1 point away the answer became clear to you, that writing was your destiny and God ordained. Much success to you in your career.

    • Thank you so much, Jeanne, for your words. I actually knew at age 13 that I wanted to be making a career out of writing poetry, but I had such a strong heart to please my father. I could not bear to disappoint him. That’s why I kept trying to pass my teacher’s exam. I wanted my father to be proud of me.

  23. In this case case, forget “nailing it,” you “failed it” and it’s all good. This detour was in fact your destiny. Best wishes to you! Thanks for sharing your story.

    • Thank you so much, Becca! I love how you said that. Everything happens for a reason and my failing the exam was the best thing for me. It brought me to my destiny. Thanks for reading my story.

  24. Traci, thank you for sharing your INSPIRATIONAL story. Congratulations on opening and sharing your gift with the world.

  25. This is a great reminder… so powerful. Trust is all God ever wants from us. So glad you heard His voice and walked accordingly. Blessings!

  26. Live your truth, believe in yourself, stand firm even if it means standing alone. I know hor scary at times that can be. I returned to graduate school and moved to a new state without the benefit of family and friends at 60, my folks thought I had lost my mind, i moved anyway. The move has strenghten my faith and gave me a blank canvas to fill in all the tings that bring me JOY. No one can live your life or the circumstances of those decisions but you. Proud of you for moving forward boldly in your truth.

    • Thank you so much, Deborah, for your words of encouragement. It means a lot more than you know. I am glad you found the courage to step out on faith for yourself. It is always worth it to just take a leap of faith because you just never know what the outcome will be. It may surprise you.

  27. Traci, my soul was stirred reading your story. Like a good stirred pot of stew, it caused good feelings to rise up in me.
    Thank you for sharing such an inspiring and transparent slice of your life. It was/is good food for the soul.
    Your missive was a testimony to the faithfulness of our God.
    Continue using your gifts on your kingdom assignment and may you give it all back to God as an offering of thanksgiving, and watch how He’ll continue to blow your mind with His blessings! (And we know we can’t beat God giving.😉)
    I pray God’s favor chase you down and overtake you, my sister.
    Stay encouraged . . . and keep writing . . . Please! 🌹

    • Thank you so much for such tremendous encouragement, Cynthia. I feel speechless, thankful, and emotionally touched by all you said. I pray God’s favor over your life too, sister! You stay encouraged and keep being amazing because the world definitely needs more people like you. Thanks again.

  28. Beautiful message! Thank you for sharing your testimony of God’s faithfulness. It was very encouraging.

  29. What a beautiful testimony. I agree that your faith grows in and from failure. God truly desires one thing and that is for us to lean into him for all our needs and it is the tests of this world that causes us to lean in and trust his ways. His ways are true and always have our best interest at heart. He is a loving father and I am grateful to know that we have that will always have that kind of relationship with him and there is nothing we can do to change the love he has for us.

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